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Updated: Dec 8, 2023   |   Lauren Koppelman

Microsoft insider risk management: Is there a better alternative?

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Insider risks represent a serious problem in the modern workplace. Threats posed by malicious insiders or careless employees can quickly put enterprise data resources and mission-critical systems at risk. As such, companies must take effective measures to protect themselves.

This post discusses the benefits of deploying Microsoft Purview to manage insider risk. We’ll also review how Purview's insider risk management capabilities are enhanced by integrating the tool with the Reveal Platform by Next. 

Th‎e importance of insider risk management

Insider risk management is an essential component of a company’s comprehensive cybersecurity measures. It’s as important to defend against insider risks as it is to secure the environment from external threat actors. 

The percentage of data breaches related to insider threats continues to grow and poses a risk to virtually any organization attempting to protect data resources, system integrity, and intellectual property.

Identifying potential malicious or inadvertent insider risks is challenging because of the many ways an IT environment can be threatened by insiders. Malicious insiders may deliberately exploit system vulnerabilities, use elevated privileges to access sensitive data resources, or exhibit other unethical behavior. 

Insider risks also include accidental misuse of enterprise data assets and violations of the organization's compliance standards that can result in data leakage or a serious data breach.

Monitoring and controlling the way data elements are used throughout an organization is required to manage and reduce insider risk. Customers with a Microsoft Azure environment can implement Microsoft Purview as a tool to help manage their insider risk.

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Ho‎w does Microsoft Purview manage insider risks?

Microsoft Purview is a family of solutions that helps businesses manage security and compliance. It is designed to help mitigate the challenges faced by remote user connectivity and evolving IT management roles. 

The solution is a synthesis of the former Azure Purview and Microsoft 365’s compliance solutions. The combination of these solutions results in a platform that offers organizations multiple benefits including:

  • Gaining visibility into enterprise data resources
  • Protecting and managing sensitive data across clouds, apps, and endpoints
  • Managing organization-wide data risks and compliance issues
  • Providing innovative methods of governing, protecting, and managing enterprise data

Purview’s risk and compliance solutions are focused on protecting data resident in Microsoft 365 services including SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and Exchange. It also offers protection for on-premises Windows and macOS devices.

For an introduction to Purview, check out the video below:

‎The following are some of the ways Purview helps a company protect itself from internal risks.

  • Purview identifies and classifies sensitive information types based on built-in or customized policy templates. Intelligent classifiers are trainable using examples of specific data types.
  • Role-based access controls prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data resources.
  • Sensitivity labels provide information to users and administrators regarding the sensitivity of the data they are handling.
  • Data loss prevention is implemented by protecting against the unintentional sharing of sensitive data within an organization.
  • Purview Double Key Encryption secures an organization’s most sensitive data and meets regulatory compliance requirements.
  • The platform supports detecting and acting on risky insider activities using audit logs from Microsoft 365.
  • Purview can detect and act on inappropriate email or Microsoft Teams communications that threaten to share sensitive data inappropriately.

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Ex‎tend Microsoft Purview’s capabilities with Reveal

The Reveal Platform by Next enhances the ability of an organization to manage insider risks when integrated with Microsoft Purview. The native capabilities of Microsoft Purview provide basic insider risk management for Microsoft Azure environments. 

Companies utilizing a hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructure may require a more comprehensive insider risk management program to address risk throughout all of their computing environments.

Let’s look at some of the specific ways integrating Reveal with Purview offers a more robust insider risk management workflow.

  • Reveal’s advanced endpoint agents support Windows, macOS, and Linux devices to more fully address complex and diverse modern computing environments. The agents employ machine learning to identify and classify data at the point of risk.
  • The analysis provided by Reveal builds user activity baselines that are essential in identifying insider risk indicators. Reveal can identify gaps in Purview’s insider risk policies so they can be refined to enhance protection.
  • The tool automatically enforces the enterprise data handling policy in response to risky user behavior and protects the organization's assets.
  • Reveal consolidates all insider risk and data loss information in a unified interface to improve productivity and reduce incident response time.
  • Reveal automates context-based inspection to classify data assets and enforce data handling policies.
  • User training is provided at the point of risk to increase understanding of data handling policies and increase the organization’s security IQ.

Talk to the data loss prevention experts at Next and schedule a demonstration to see Reveal in action. Learn how easy it is to integrate Reveal and complement Microsoft Purview and provide your organization with enhanced insider risk management.

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Fr‎equently asked questions

What types of insider threats does a combination of Reveal and Purview address?

The combination of these two insider risk management and data loss prevention platforms effectively protects an organization from both intentional and unwitting insider threats. 

Through the automated enforcement of an enterprise data handling policy, all attempts at misusing data resources are restricted. Information and systems can be kept safe from deliberate and accidental threats.

How does Reveal promote increased security consciousness?

Reveal provides user training whenever data is mishandled throughout an organization. This informative training helps employees understand how they have violated the data handling policy and potentially exposed the company to risk. 

Reports on repeated violations can identify individuals who need additional training to ensure they handle enterprise resources correctly. Taken together, these factors minimize unwitting insider threats and reduce the risk to the organization.

How does data classification address insider risk management? 

A company needs to understand where its valuable and sensitive data is stored throughout the IT environment to protect it effectively. This requires that all information is classified according to its value, sensitivity, or importance to the organization. 

Classification enables the development of a data handling policy that controls how enterprise assets can be used by employees and contractors.


See how Next protects your employees and prevents data loss